WARNING: This series is not intended for family viewing!!
The articles included in the “Living and Loving in the Philippines” section of the website are intended to underscore what you need to know when it comes to life and love in the Philippines. This is a hard-core, no holds barred, no subjects avoided, non-sugar coated look at all aspects of expatriate life, love and sex in the Philippines.
Numerous guides and books are available on the Philippines. They will tell you about all the local attractions, the nicest beaches, the best hotels and the good restaurants. These are good sources of information if you are on vacation and your sole purpose is to travel and explore. But what if you are looking for more than a vacation? What if you are considering living in the Philippines? What if you are looking for a Filipina woman to be your wife or girlfriend? How do you go about it? Where do you live? How do you handle your money? How do you meet women? What are the dangers? How do you own property? How do you become a permanent resident? What is it really like to live in the Philippines?
If these are the kinds of questions you have the normal travel resources won’t help you very much. So how does one obtain such information?
The tech savvy can attempt to gather this information from the Internet. There are millions of web pages about the Philippines. The problem is in the integration. Piecing it all together in your mind is a difficult and time consuming task. Another problem with the Internet is that the sites, especially those Philippine sponsored, are sugar coated, making everything sound simply amazing and glossing over all of the negative aspects.
The purpose of this article series is to remedy this situation – to provide a single, concise and easy to read resource about living and loving in the Philippines. This series will also help you if you don’t necessarily want to live permanently in the Philippines, but simply wish to find a Filipina wife to bring back to your own country.
Why the Philippines?
People often ask me: “Why the Philippines?” There are many places in this world to live or retire. Is there something special about that distant island archipelago? Actually the answer is a fairly resounding “Yes!”. The Philippines is unique in its set of unique attractions, possessing in its totality something that few, if any, other countries can fulfill. What are these attractors, you ask? Well, here’s a bulletted list and then a more thorough examination of each one.
- Inexpensive living
- English language widely spoken
- Open to western visitors and Expats
- Westernized, Christian, somewhat liberal culture
- Easy to find a woman
- Younger women do not mind older men
- Society does not judge younger women with older men as bad.
This isn’t a requirement for all people. If you are wealthy there is no need to choose an inexpensive country to live in. However, if you are like most of us, you don’t have unlimited resources and you are looking to get the most bang for your buck. People are always looking to invest their money wisely. Normally, making a 10% return on your investments is considered very good. With that in mind, how would you like to triple your money instantly? Well, if you choose the Philippines as your retirement location instead of virtually any western “First World” nation, you effectively triple your money. I estimate that maintaining a given life style in the Philippines costs you about one-third as much as in a western country such as the USA. This 3 to 1 ratio is not based on any scientific study or any hard numbers – it is more of an intuitive conclusion based on my experiences here. The comparative cost of things in the Philippines is not a straight forward formula such as everything costs three times less. For example, the cost of labor is probably a factor of 20 to 30 times cheaper than in the USA. However if you want to buy a famous brand name tennis racket or a set of golf clubs it will cost you more in the Philippines than in the USA. Everything has its relative costs and this is something we will talk about in later articles.
The requirement for inexpensive living rules out most developed countries such as the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, most of Europe, and First World Asian countries such as Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.
English Language Widely Spoken
For some people this is not so important. Some people have the skill and inclination to learn the local language. Some people don’t really care because they plan to live in an Expat enclave and communicate mostly with other foreigners. For me, however, having English as an official language in the Philippines is very important. Having lived in Thailand, I have learned that it is very tiring to never be able to effectively communicate with the locals. It’s also very nice to have local friends. For me, English comprehension was a mandatory requirement when it came to permanently settling down outside my home country. This ultimately eliminated nations such as Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand where very few people speak English. The actual level of proficiency in English varies widely in the Philippines between educated and non-educated people. However, sufficient English skills are possessed by most of the nation’s residents so that you will never feel you absolutely have to learn the local language.
Open to Western Visitors and Expats
This was also very important to me. No matter where you are, you don’t want to feel that you are resented or even hated. You don’t want to be embarrassed or afraid to say you are American (or any other nationality, for that matter). The Philippines has had a very long relationship with the United States and even if a “Kano” is not actually an American, Filipinos still make foreigners welcome and feel at home. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but all in all, Filipinos are a lot more genuine and open than folks I have encountered in other parts of the world.
Westernized, Christian, Somewhat Liberal Culture
I bring up “Christianity” simply because it is a religion and culture that most Westerners can relate to even if you are Jewish or non-religious. When visiting a Christian nation, you pretty much know what you are getting. You’re probably not going to encounter any big surprises. Although generally very religious, Filipinos are not fanatics about their religion. In contrast, consider the case of the hapless Englishwoman teaching in Sudan who in 2007 innocently named the class teddy bear Mohammad and was whipped and thrown in jail. This might seem extreme to a Westerner, but there were actually protests that the sentence was too lenient and that the teacher should be executed. (For those not familiar with the story, thankfully she was finally pardoned by the president and sent back to England).Or consider making an innocuous joke about the King of Thailand and finding yourself in prison for ten years. You don’t want any surprises like that!
The people of the Philippines are more westernized in their thinking than probably any other Asian country. This comes as a result of the Philippines having a a long history of western occupation and Christian missionaries. The Philippines was occupied first by the Spanish from 1565 to 1898 and then by the USA from 1898 to 1946, so it is only relatively recently that it has been an independent nation. The Spanish and American occupations have had a lasting and continuing effect on the culture in the Philippines. Some people have actually called the Philippines, Asia-Lite. If you are simply on vacation, it is not so important to be in a country with western culture. In fact, it can be very interesting to see other cultures. However, when you are living someplace long term, it’s nice to feel you can relate to people and not feel like you are from another planet.
As for saying the Philippines is “somewhat liberal,” this applies more to life style than political or religious views. The Philippines has a Constitution, free speech is allowed, women are valued members of society (the Philippines has had a woman president) and sexuality is a definite part of their culture. Women enjoy being sexy and dressing sexy. Sexiness is ok. Contrast this with say, Dubai, where they just passed a law making it a crime to dress “too provocatively.” Gay culture is out in the open and well tolerated in the Philippines – far more so than it is in the USA.
Easy to Find a Woman
It’s easy to find a woman in the Philippines. Of course – and like everywhere else – – it’s a lot harder to find a “good” woman. If you are a relatively normal person with a kind nature and you make it known you are available, you will have many opportunities to date women in the Philippines. In fact, a large percentage of Filipinas dream of meeting a nice, “rich” foreigner and settling down. And don’t let the ‘rich’ part throw you – “rich” to them means able to live a comfortable life style, not rich in the sense of Bill Gates or Donald Trump.
Younger Women Do Not Mind Older Men
Let’s face it, most men are attracted to younger women. It’s in our genes. It’s nature. We have no control over it. No matter how old we get, we are still attracted to the same age of women. Depending on your individual makeup, for most men that means women anywhere from 18 to 35. Well, in the Philippines younger women do not have the same stigma against older men as they do in western nations. For a western man hoping to meet a younger woman in the Philippines, your most important assets are a decent and kind personality, a little bit of money and a willingness not to be too cheap – at least during the courting stage! Looks and age are secondary, but if you not too old and are good looking, that’s only going to make the process a whole lot easier. But even if you are 70 years old, and your goal is to meet an 21 year old beauty queen, you can probably succeed.
Society Doesn’t Judge Younger Women with Older Men as Bad
If you are in a western country and you are a 55 year old man dating a 20 year old woman, the natural reaction of most people is: “PERVERT!!!” If you are 55 year old man living in a western country, and you see another 55 year old man dating a beautiful 20 year old woman, your natural reaction is “Wow!!!” followed by “Lucky bastard, I wish that was me!”
Well, in the Philippines you don’t have to be ashamed. It is quite accepted and tolerated. Besides foreigners, many older, wealthy Filipino men have young mistresses. It’s sort of like this: If you are rich and living in a western country and you buy an expensive car, does anyone object and say it’s wrong? No – you have money and you are entitled to the finer things in life. Well in the Philippines, if you have money, one of the finer things in life is a young sexy woman. It seems that the honest feelings about this are much more in the open, and they are not hampered down by the oppressive weight of political correctness.
Ok, so that’s the first part of this ongoing series. We’ll bigger digger into juicier bits in the next installment.